by George Evans
At the African History Project, the prioritisation of Black voices and experiences is at the core of our philosophical approach to teaching. An educator who shares this mindset is Ekaete Alfred, previously a History teacher working across London secondary schools and the recent founder of the Pan African Academy, a new and exciting supplementary school.
Ekaete describes her project as the creation of “a supplementary school which will provide students with the opportunity to study African history and African creative arts; bridging the gap between children of the diaspora and their homeland.”
Ahead of our upcoming lecture and conversation ‘Teaching Black History at KS3 – Opportunities and Challenges’, we spoke to Ekaete about her approach to and passion for Pan Africanism as well as her desires and vision for the future.
African History Project: What are your aims in founding the Pan African Academy?
Ekaete Alfred: The aim of the school is to educate and empower future generations of proud Africans, providing young people with a comprehensive and academically rigorous education on the history of the continent. My goal is for this education to instil in young people a deeper knowledge of self and pride in their historical and cultural backgrounds.
AHP: How did the idea of founding a Pan African supplementary school come about?
Ekaete: Having spent more than ten years teaching history in London secondary schools, I had countless conversations with students about the parts of the history of Africa not included on their syllabuses. It always struck me that my Black students especially were more interested in those conversations about Africa than they were about the horrors of slavery and empire which were being taught. Their fascination was both wonderful and inspiring and I realised that many were yearning to know more of their history than just the struggle alone.
“The vision is to have a strong network of schools where the children are learning the history of the continent and putting the ideology of Pan-Africanism into practice”– Ekaete Alfred, Founder of the Pan African Academy
AHP: What is your hope for the school’s future?
Ekaete: This first school would be the first of many, both here in the UK and eventually in other parts of the diaspora and in Africa. The vision is to have a strong network of schools where the children are learning the history of the continent and putting the ideology of Pan-Africanism into practice. I hope that many students will go on to study and work in fields which will help in the liberation of Africa.
AHP: What challenges did you face when starting to set up the school?
Ekaete: Finding a venue was tricky. I experienced schools being happy to let their classrooms and then suddenly not having capacity once the purpose of the school was discussed. This to me stressed the importance of ownership and re-affirmed that I need to work towards the school eventually having its own building.
AHP: Having previously been an educator teaching the national curriculum, what made you decide to turn to more familial/community-based forms of education?
Ekaete: I believe that there are many things which are needed in our community that we sometimes wait for other people to do for us. The need for our children to understand their history has been an ongoing conversation and as someone who has the knowledge and skills to provide this, I see it as my duty and pleasure to do so.
AHP: Who inspires your commitment to Pan African education?
Ekaete: I am very inspired by leaders who have come before me. People like Kwame Nkrumah, Thomas Sankara, Malcolm X, Steve Biko… people who were fearless in the face of such adversity. We often bemoan the lack of such people today; however I want to focus on inspiring the leaders of tomorrow.
AHP: What three books/podcasts would you recommend to young people seeking to start exploring Pan Africanism?
Ekaete: My choices would have to be,
- ‘The Destruction of Black Civilisation’, by Chancellor Williams – an understanding of the history of black people on this planet is fundamental for understanding where Pan Africanism fits and why it is necessary.
- ‘The Pan African Pantheon’, edited by Adekeye Adebajo – a wonderful collection of essays and commentaries on some of the most influential figures in the Pan African movement. (https://africanhistoryproject.org/kb/celebrating-the-pan-african-pantheon-the-centre-of-pan-african-thought-hosts-an-important-lecture-series/)
- ‘Africa Must Unite’, by Kwame Nkrumah – a man who was arguably ahead of his time with his vision of what Africa can become.
AHP: What attracts you to working alongside the African History Project?
Ekaete: Your commitment to and passion for the teaching of African history is fantastic and the work we do complements each other well. On the dual missions of driving change in schools and providing education outside of school, our joint work will no doubt be influential.
AHP: Where can parents register?
Ekaete: Enrolment begins on Friday 30th July and the term will begin on Saturday 4th September. Parents can visit www.panafricanacademy.org to register their interest and receive important updates around enrolment and the school.
To find out more about the Pan African Academy, please visit:
- Website: https://www.panafricanacademy.org
- Instagram: @panafricanacademy
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/panafricanacademy
- Twitter: @PanAfriAca
To attend our conversation with Ekaete discussing Black Historical Education KS3, please click on the image below: